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Vermont State Police are investigating the 11th prison death this year

State Police vehicles on road in front of brick building
John Dillon
Vermont Public
Vermont State Police are investigating the death of an incarcerated person Sunday at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

Vermont State Police are investigating the death of an incarcerated person Sunday at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

The Department of Corrections informed VSP Sunday afternoon that 37-year-old Dennis Mayotte of North Springfield had died of an apparent suicide.

DOC staff tried life saving measures while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personal, who later pronounced Mayotte deceased at the scene, that's according to VSP in a press release.

Police say Mayotte's death does not appear to be suspicious, but the investigation is ongoing. The chief medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The Defender General's Prisoners’ Rights Office will conduct its own review of the incident, which is a standard practice when someone dies in prison.

Mayotte was arrested on October 26 on charges of first degree arson, among others. He's been held alone in a cell since he was incarcerated, though he spent a few days in the hospital, said Interim DOC Commissioner Al Cormier during an interview on Monday.

Cormier declined to say why Mayotte had been hospitalized, but he said Mayotte was on suicide precautions when he died which means staff were suppose to check on him every 15 minutes. DOC will review the incident to see if that protocol was being followed, Cormier said.

"That's part of the fact finding that we will engage in with the documentation, the videos from from the camera system and so forth," Cormier said.

Mayotte is the 11th incarcerated person to die in Vermont this year.

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Updated: November 6, 2023 at 4:51 PM EST
This story has been updated with additional information from the Department of Corrections.
Corrected: November 6, 2023 at 4:08 PM EST
A previous version of this article misidentified the number of prison deaths in Vermont this year. The mistake has been corrected.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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